On March 29, 2016, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) raised the maximum permissible operating altitude for commercial and governmental unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) weighing less than 55 pounds from 200 feet to 400 feet. Until now, commercial and governmental UAS required special authorization to operate above 200 feet.

In a statement (available here), FAA Administrator Michael Huerta said: “Expanding the authorized airspace for these operations means government and industry can carry out unmanned aircraft missions more quickly and with less red tape.”

UAS operators with a Section 333 exemption will now no longer require special authorization to fly up to 400 feet, but other provisions of FAA authorization such as registering UAS and pilot certification requirements still apply.